Kenya hosts EU/AfriNIC training on IPv6

NAIROBI, KENYA – More than 100 technical experts from English-speaking countries in Africa have gathered in Nairobi for IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) training.

The training is geared toward improving the capacity of IT managers in Africa in deployment of IPv6 networks. Kenya will embark on a plan to deploy IPv6 mainly through the national Network Operations Center (NOC) that is currently being set up, said Information and Communication Minister Samuel Poghisio in his keynote address. He added that NOC will support ongoing initiatives to encourage IPv6 deployment.

The training session in Nairobi is being offered by Africa Network Information Center (AfriNIC) with support from the European Union through the 6deploy initiative, which promotes IPv6 awareness and training in developing countries.

Poghisio urged AfriNIC to continue with current efforts to promote training, noting that Africa must accelerate the pace of ICT adoption to catalyze growth and alleviate poverty.

“ICT is one of the major driving forces of the world economy in the 21st century and one of the key pillars to the realization of the government’s ‘Vision 2030,'” he said. “Recent studies have shown a strong correlation between a country’s level of uptake of ICT and growth in GDP, as well as export capacity.”

The event was organized in partnership with Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC), the administrators of the .ke top level domain. KENIC is managing 9,000 domain names and the local DNS (Domain Name Server) infrastructure, said Anthony Mugambi, KENIC chairperson.

Poghisio challenged KENIC to develop an affordable pricing model that can reduce the cost of domain names from the current US$30 per name to $5, as in other developing countries. If the pricing is reduced, the minister promised that the government will provide funding for all schools, hospitals and other public utilities to obtain domain names.

In response, Mugambi said that KENIC is developing an attractive package that will allow more Kenyans to take up addresses.

To provide rural penetration, the government has provided free spectrum, through which interested parties can roll out community networks. The free spectrum, which is between 5.1 MHz and 5.8 MHz, will complement activities under the digital villages project, said Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication.

Training participant Brian Longwe said that adoption of IPv6 is important for Africa because it will improve visibility within other networks outside the continent.

“Most people doing research on Internet use in Africa base it on the IP address,” said Longwe. “Most of our mobile networks use private IPs, which are not visible out there.”

Since 2006, AfriNIC has offered 30 training workshops in 25 countries on IPv6 and other technical challenges faced by IT managers in Africa. The organization also holds an annual IPv6 day for people to share experiences and best practices. The 2008 event will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in November, said AfriNIC CEO Adiel Akplogan.

AfriNIC is the regional registry and is responsible for IP allocations. So far, there are 50 allocations on IPv6, and half are using them in their networks, Akplogan said.

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